Swoop: Washington’s World: July 9th – 15th, 2012 – The Slow Recovery

Swoop: Washington’s World: July 9th – 15th, 2012 – The Slow Recovery
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Swoop: “While there has been plenty of foreign policy news – a breakthrough in relations with Pakistan that will allow the overland supply routes to Afghanistan to reopen, further talks with Iran, and concerted international consultations on Syria – the one item that pre-empted debate in Washington was the June unemployment statistics.

Cap Falcon Note: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, announced July 7th that the United States has given Afghanistan the status of “major non-Nato ally which includes countries such as Australia, Egypt and Israel, gives preferential access to US arms exports and defense co-operation. A day later, donors at a conference on Afghanistan have pledged to give it $16bn to Afghanistan.

The below expectation numbers for new job creation provided further evidence that economic activity continues to be slow. With both Democratic and Republican campaigns absorbed on the domestic front, the management of foreign affairs remains as before: to keep events below the crisis level. The nuclear talks with Iran are a good example. Despite what all involved acknowledge to be the meager results from three rounds of high-level talks and one set of technical level exchanges, the Administration is showing no signs of losing patience in the negotiation track.

Naval reinforcements have been sent to the Gulf, but Pentagon officials tell us that these are entirely defensive in nature, not part of a build-up for an attack on Iran. With a new round of talks between EU and Iranian officials in prospect, our assessment is that this cautious pattern will continue over the summer. As before, US officials remind us that they know that they do not ultimately control Israeli decision-making, but they believe that Israel – at least at this juncture – is unlikely to take unilateral action.

On Syria, the focus of US diplomacy is to pressure Russia and China to abandon their support for the Damascus regime. In parallel, US political advisers are working with the Syrian opposition in an effort to build a more united front. This is proving an uphill task.

Away from the Middle East, relations with China are entering another difficult period. Actions by USTR to initiate a protest inside the WTO against Chinese duties on American car exports come at a time when both presidential campaigns will be criticizing China for what are seen as unhelpful attitudes on a number of fronts. China’s continued purchase of Iranian oil looms as a potential further source of tension.

Turning to the south, the Mexican elections produced a return of the PRI after a brief hiatus.  Senior State officials advise us they are cautiously optimistic that president-elect Pena Nieto will offer new opportunities to control drug violence on the border and expand trade.”

Source: http://theswoop.net
Photo Credits:  Afghanistan By The U.S. Army / FlickR.
 A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter flies near Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, March 22, 2007. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Cecilio M. Ricardo Jr.)